IPhone 6s Plus

Will this up­date to Ap­ple’s ful­some phone prove that big­ger is bet­ter?

Mac Format - - RATED -

Yes, the plus-size iPhone is still huge. Re­ally big. If you tried the 6 Plus last year and found it sim­ply too large for how you like to use a phone (or for your pock­ets, which is hon­estly a po­ten­tial prob­lem), then you can prob­a­bly stop read­ing this re­view here. In fact, the 6s Plus is a tiny bit thicker than its pre­de­ces­sor, and 20 grams heav­ier – but if you’re some­one who prefers what the big­gest iPhone and its 5.5-inch, 1920x1080-pixel dis­play of­fers, the 6s Plus has some very nice tricks up its size­able sleeve.

The fan­ci­est new ad­di­tion is, of course, 3D Touch. Just like on the iPhone 6s, it takes a bit of get­ting used to – it’s a way of in­ter­act­ing we just haven’t had on our phones be­fore, and have only had on any­thing else for six months – but it’s of­ten fan­tas­ti­cally use­ful when you do re­mem­ber to use it. The Peek ac­tion is es­pe­cially use­ful on

the 6s Plus. In the old days, if you opened a link then wanted to go back, you had to work to reach the top of the screen (or in­voke Reach­a­bil­ity), or stretch across the phone’s con­sid­er­able width to swipe back. Now, you don’t even need to open the link in the first place. Just press lightly, see the pic­ture, web­site, cal­en­dar en­try or what­ever, then let go.

As with the 6s, 3D Touch makes one-handed use much more vi­able. That said, it’s of­ten not easy to ac­ti­vate the mul­ti­task­ing 3D Touch ges­ture (where you press hard on the left edge of the screen and swipe to the right) on the Plus with one hand – be­tween the dis­tance you need to reach and keep­ing the phone bal­anced, we just couldn’t do it re­li­ably.

Also, while we al­luded to it at the start, it’s worth talk­ing about what the huge 5.5-inch screen on the 6s Plus gives you that even the 6s’s 4.7‑inch one doesn’t. It’s Ap­ple’s high­est-den­sity screen, which makes it as­ton­ish­ingly de­tailed. It’s a Full HD dis­play, so videos look beau­ti­ful on it. But the ex­tra size isn’t just for the sake of be­ing big­ger – turn it to land­scape and many apps end up look­ing like their iPad equiv­a­lents, adding things like ex­tra scrolling panes, so you can have your email in­box next to the cur­rently open mes­sage. The key­board is more com­pre­hen­sive too. It all com­bines to mean you can ac­tu­ally be more pro­duc­tive on the 6s Plus than with smaller iPhones (to some de­gree, at least). It sits some­where be­tween iPhone and iPad, and while some peo­ple will be hap­pier keep­ing those con­cepts sep­a­rate, for oth­ers it’s ab­so­lutely the Goldilocks de­vice.

Bet­ter bat­tery?

One of the big­gest rea­sons to pick up an iPhone 6 Plus last year was that it of­fered sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter bat­tery life than the reg­u­lar iPhone 6. It was eas­ily the dif­fer­ence be­tween run­ning out be­fore the end of a day of heavy use and still hav­ing some juice to spare. But, while you might hope the 6s Plus be­ing slightly thicker than its pre­de­ces­sor means Ap­ple has ac­com­mo­dated even more bat­tery space, it ac­tu­ally has a slightly smaller and lower ca­pac­ity bat­tery. En­ergy sav­ings else­where mean that it still gets the same kind of bat­tery life as last year’s model, and it still beats out the smaller 6s – but sadly there’s no marked im­prove­ment in longevity. Still, that means it re­mains the joint-best op­tion for iPhone bat­tery life, and you can eke even more out of it with iOS 9’s Low Power Mode.

It’s also, of course, Ap­ple’s joint-most-pow­er­ful iPhone along with the 6s, pack­ing in an as­ton­ish­ingly pow­er­ful A9 pro­ces­sor. Ev­ery year, we find it hard to imag­ine Ap­ple could add any no­tice­able speed to the iPhone, yet ev­ery year it does. Apps launch faster than ever, and mov­ing about the sys­tem is ex­tremely snappy.

The up­grade to 2GB of RAM is im­por­tant as well, be­cause it means things like Sa­fari tabs don’t need to to reload as of­ten (a real bug­bear of ours in the past), and apps and games are more likely to be able to pick up in the ex­act spot you left them. Even the most de­mand­ing games run fan­tas­ti­cally well, nat­u­rally. And, if you are go­ing for more com­plex tasks in pro­fes­sional

apps, it han­dles those deftly too – from fast photo edit­ing in Pix­el­ma­tor to swiftly edit­ing 4K video in iMovie.

Video star

Like the iPhone 6s, the 6s Plus is ca­pa­ble of cap­tur­ing 4K video – at a whop­ping res­o­lu­tion of 3840x2160 pix­els. How­ever, the 6s Plus has a bonus over the 6s. Just like last year’s mod­els, only the Plus fea­tures an op­ti­cal im­age sta­biliser (OIS) for the cam­era – but in the 6 Plus it was only used for still images in low light. Now, it’s used for videos too, and the dif­fer­ence is glo­ri­ous. It works by sens­ing your hand’s in­vol­un­tary mo­tions us­ing the M9 co-pro­ces­sor, and then mak­ing tiny com­pen­satory move­ments to the cam­era sen­sor us­ing minis­cule elec­tro­mag­netic mo­tors around its edge.

The re­sult is hand­held video that’s al­most com­pletely with­out the tell­tale wob­bles and twitches that nor­mally mar it. In­deed, it’s al­most eerie at times – but it looks

The 2GB of RAM up­grade is im­por­tant as well, be­cause it means things like Sa­fari tabs don’t need to to reload as of­ten

won­der­fully clean and pro­fes­sional with­out any ef­fort on your part.

We haven’t even talked about the over­all video qual­ity yet, which is fan­tas­tic – crisp, clear, bright and colour­ful. Quite sim­ply, you could use the iPhone 6s Plus for some pro­fes­sional video work, and no one would know the dif­fer­ence. The 4K op­tion is great, but ad­mit­tedly lim­ited in prac­ti­cal use right now – YouTube is the only ex­port op­tion that ac­tu­ally keeps the 4K res­o­lu­tion. How­ever, if you’re plan­ning to make your fi­nal video 1080p, record­ing in 4K is still use­ful be­cause it means you can zoom in by up to 2x when edit­ing with­out ac­tu­ally los­ing any de­tail – a first for the iPhone.

The im­age sta­biliser works for low­light stills too, and re­ally does help to get slightly sharper, brighter shots in­doors. If you’re es­pe­cially keen on iPhone pho­tog­ra­phy and video, this should tip you over into con­sid­er­ing the Plus over the reg­u­lar 6s (but be sure to get the 64GB model at least).

So, with that ad­van­tage, is this the bet­ter of the two new mod­els? They’re equally good, just dif­fer­ent – the bonus of the bet­ter bat­tery life and OIS comes with a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in size and weight. If you pre­fer a phone that’s thin­ner, lighter and more pock­etable, go with the 6s. For longevity, the best pos­si­ble cam­era, or just the larger screen, and if you don’t mind the heft, you’ll be de­lighted with what the 6s Plus has to of­fer. Matt Bolton

Our thanks to Three for sup­ply­ing the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus for re­view. To see deals and tar­iffs, go to three.co.uk. Three – rated the UK’s most re­li­able net­work by YouGov.

That ex­tra bit of weight and thick­ness means the 6s Plus is the big­gest iPhone yet.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.